American Airlines Flight Attendants Calls Cops On Dad, Falsely Report Him As A Sex Trafficker

A dad and his 13 year old daughter flying American Airlines from Seattle to Charlotte last week were shaken to their core when law enforcement met them on arrival. The flight’s crew had radioed ahead to report him as a suspected sex trafficker.

The pair were traveling to the man’s oldest daughter’s graduation. The first time he noticed something amiss was during the flight when he got up to use the lavatory. He returned to learn his daughter was being questioned,

“When I came back, my daughter had some wings. I was like, ‘oh, where did you get those from,’” he recalled.

De Jesus said she told him that a flight attendant came over and asked her if she was OK, where she was going, and who she was going to meet? He said he didn’t think much of it until the plane touched down.

The pair was met in Charlotte “by several individuals” including the head of security for the airport. They were led away for questioning, and nobody would tell them why. Eventually “law enforcement explained to him that flight attendants are trained to look for the signs of human trafficking.”

After they were released – she was his daughter and they were traveling to a family occasion, not to sell her – he reached out to the airline but American wouldn’t provide him with any response, until media got involved. Eventually they provided the following statement,

“Our frontline team members are trained to navigate a variety of safety issues, including recognizing the potential signs of human trafficking. We strive to create a positive, welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us and apologize for any misunderstanding that may have occurred.”

Airline and hotel employees are taught to use their prejudices to spot and report human trafficking, and this often works out badly. Flight attendants are told they need to be on the lookout, and you have to sympathize with the position that puts them in. Imagine if they didn’t say something when they could have stopped a bad situation? That would haunt them. So better to raise the accusation or flag innocent people for law enforcement to sort out. And that gives you situations like,

Hotel staff are trained by the Department of Homeland Security to report guests with too many used condoms in the trash, as well as:

  • frequent use of the “Do Not Disturb” sign (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • guests who avert their eyes or don’t make eye contact (you’re tired and don’t want to be bothered)
  • people with “lower quality clothing than companions” (no one ever accused me of fashion)
  • people who have “suspicious tattoos” (which just means you’re from Austin or Portland)
  • having multiple computers, cell phones, and other technology (you’re a blogger)
  • “presence of photography equipment” (you’re a blogger)
  • refusal of cleaning services for multiple days (you ‘made a green choice’ or ‘fear Covid’)
  • rooms paid for with cash or a rechargeable credit card (you have to unload your gift card purchases somehow)
  • guests with few personal possessions (you refuse to check a bag because you’re a frequent traveler)

See something, say something, when you’re encouraging amateurs to do it, leads to so many false positives that real cases of sex trafficking seem likely to get less attention. Employees think they are ‘trained’ when they’re really using their prejudices – in this case against a Hispanic man traveling with a teenage girl.

(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Kiki, and while I’m on it, how about you and all the rest of the keyboard kowboys on here spewing about the training take some time yourself to take a class or two and keep your eyes open because it’s a lot more prevalent than you think. Maybe all the Mom’s missing their kids today would have an army of people looking for their kids and not just medical personnel, educators, law enforcement and transportation employees.

  2. This shows how extremely screwed up the US is when things like this and the other given examples happen seemingly too often. I don’t see/read about this sort of thing (blatant racism) happening to others in the western world.

  3. Pretty much racial profiling ..imagine a white dad vs a darker colored skin one, judgement already made ..atleast check their names on tickets (guess in this age of all the info they, including Govt, has on someone can’t be trusted? that ticket info can be altered to show what someone wants?) ..

  4. Was the father black, Asian, Central, or South American? Did the child look lighter than him? If yes to any of these questions. And based on the logic used in this forum, the flight attendant was right in her fight against woke.

    Putting on red lipstick and a blue uniform and on a bigot does not change the underlying facts – a bogot with any “power” is dangerous!

  5. @JimC- like you said, easy to find on Google. But in that case, there were two underage girls, traveling alone to meet a stranger who bought one way flight tickets for them on a fraudulent credit card. Yeah, that should raise a red flag.

    For the flight attendant who talked to the child alone and thought they had a suspicious conversation, why not come back when the adult was with them as well, and have a second conversation? I doubt then that they would have called the cops on a parent and his daughter…

    I don’t have trouble with attendants or anyone keeping an eye out for children’s safety. I do have a concern about people leaping to conclusions after a short conversation with the child.

  6. Shut up and pour the drinks.
    Shut up and pour the drinks.
    Shut up and pour the drinks.

    Any FA who can’t handle this and thinks they’re some sort of cop needs to be fired yesterday. Don’t like what the job is, find another one.

  7. To the Men who think the FA job is waitress/waiter in the sky? You should sign up snd try it. Reflect on how they control the Cabin and keep you safe. You will be appreciative of the FA in an emergency, which is their primary role.. passenger safety. I agree the FA over stepped their boundary speaking to the daughter alone while her Dad was in the Lav.

  8. @Bruce In an actual emergency most of those people just curl up into a ball and cry. They have no actual qualifications or ability to “keep anyone safe,” we all know that is something that was cooked up as a union PR tactic. The idea that FAs are law enforcement has just led to a huge proliferation of them treating anyone asking for basic service as “terrorism” and having people dragged off planes by cops for disagreements, as well as a lot of them constantly perceiving fake crimes that only stupid people believe in like “human trafficking” and disrupting the lives of people around them over it.

    There are a lot of good waitresses in the world and they don’t have people arrested for going to restaurants with their daughters. People who can’t hack that job because they’re too stupid and hate the idea of being polite to anyone become flight attendants.

    Shut up and pour the drinks.

  9. @Ron Mexico, oh yes I totally agree with you. LOL. Laughing all the way home. @Bruce, this guy is a F/A hater like so many on here. He’d last maybe 30 minutes and he’d be crying on the girt bar. Couldn’t handle it at all. You can spot these guys a mile away. All talk, zero action.

  10. @Frank, you’re disgusting. Call up your Mother and read that to her. Shameful. If you were my kid it would be the last time you said that to anybody about someone’s Mother.

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